Unions Join North Carolina ‘Moral Monday’ Protest

Thousands of labor, civil rights and religious activists came together to take part in a “Moral Monday” rally for workers’ rights at the North Carolina Statehouse in Raleigh.

IAM members were among the thousands of demonstrators outside the North Carolina Statehouse in Raleigh for the latest in a series of protests against the state’s ever-more radical GOP-led legislature.

North Carolina AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan, left, speaks to supporters as Rev. William Barber, organizer of North Carolina’s “Moral Monday” protests, looks on.
IAM members came to Raleigh, NC to participate in a “Moral Monday” rally supporting workers’ rights. From left: James Almand, Local 1859; Cynthia Hill, Local 350; David Lee III, Local 350 President; The Rev. Kojo Nantambu, Charlotte, NC NAACP President; Joe Greaser, Grand Lodge Representative; Kevin Hills, Local 350; James T. Sparks, Jr., Local 350.

Weekly “Moral Monday” demonstrations, led by the Rev. William Barber, have become a rallying cry against the Tea Party-driven agenda of North Carolina’s state legislature and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. Since 2010, when Republicans took control of both houses of the state’s General Assembly for the first time since 1870, North Carolina has passed some of the country’s most discriminatory voting restrictions, cut benefits for the poor and unemployed while lowering taxes on the rich, and slashed funding for public education.

The theme of the most recent Moral Monday protest was workers’ rights. North Carolina, with only three percent of its workers belonging to a union, has the lowest rate of unionization in the country.

Barber told supporters he is hopeful that the protests will continue turning public opinion against right-wing extremism.

“In America, nothing we have achieved that was morally right and good for all the people has ever been achieved without a fight,” said Barber. “History proves that every fight we have fought together, we have won. We may have some momentary defeats, but ultimately we will win.”

MaryBe McMillan, Secretary-Treasurer of the North Carolina AFL-CIO, has been a leader in the effort to organize the South.

“The time is now, the place is here and the power is ours to build a movement that will change the South and will change this nation,” said McMillan “We’re going to stand together until there are good jobs, living wages and labor rights for all workers.”

IAM Local 350 President David Lee III, who traveled from Kinston, NC to attend the rally, said he was there to make his voice heard in state politics.

“They have to start listening to the people and stop just looking out for the rich,” said Lee. “Right now the middle class is being hurt just like the poor people. Today, when you really think about it, the middle class is fading away.”

Click here to learn more about the Moral Monday movement.

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